Crews preparing for wintry mix
Crews from the North Carolina Department of Transportation spent much of the day Thursday putting brine on Rutherford County roadways in anticipation of a wintery mix today. Brine, a salt-water mixture, is a cost-effective way to help prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement.
As DOT trucks were traveling the county's road spreading the brine, members of the North Carolina Highway Patrol were instructed by the district sergeant to put snow tires on all their vehicles, said Trooper Jason Spence.
Matt Taylor, DOT's County Maintenance Director said the salt brine was being put on roads all day and spreaders were also put on the DOT vehicles in case of the icy mix.
"From what they are saying this has a real possibility of freezing rain, sleet, mixed with snow. It may get messy," Taylor said.
"If we get some freezing rain and the wind starts blowing, we could have a number of trees down," he said.
"There is a potential for the mix on Friday morning, but it looks like the bulk of the storm will be on Friday evening," Taylor continued.
Taylor said the DOT was trying to get "on the front end of the storm" and if there is wintry mix, the maintenance trucks will be working on the bare pavement until the snow stops.
After the pre-treatment of the roads Thursday evening, all trucks were refitted with plows and spreaders and are on standby until needed.
In addition to the crews out in Rutherford County Thursday, across the state there are more than 1,900 trucks equipped with snow plows and graders in addition to 325 front-end loads and backhoes and 450 motor graders, the NCDOT reported.
NCDOT has 146,500 tons of salt on hand. A typical statewide frozen precipitation event requires 40,000 tons of salt.
As crews continue to pre-treat roads, remember to leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and the trucks spraying brine.
Because most North Carolina motorists rarely have to deal with icy roads, DOT provides these are a few cautionary notes to remember when the precipitation begins:
° Slow down;
° Bridges and overpasses freeze first;
° Put away the cellphone;
° Use only gentle pressure on both the accelerator and the brakes to avoid skidding;
° Give other motorists plenty of room in case you or the other drivers begin to slide;
Check conditions before starting out.